NPO to honour 25 sporting legends

2019-09-10 06:00
Inductees of last year’s Living Legends Awards ceremony.

Inductees of last year’s Living Legends Awards ceremony.

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During Heritage Month, Play Sport4Life will again honour sporting legends who excelled in their fields and were unwavering in their commitment to the principles of non-racialism in their codes.

The Cape Town community-based non- profit organisation (NPO) will induct 25 worthy sports identities at its fifth Sports Legends Hall of Fame ceremony on Saturday 14 September.

The head of PS4L, Miles October, says the new nominees are drawn from a cross-section of the sports codes and focus on the sportspeople and administrators who have made a major contribution to the survival of their codes during the hard times of the apartheid years.

“Play Sport4Life has identified 25 deserving people who chose to play and administer the game under the aegis of the South African Council of Sport and the banner of ‘no normal sport in an abnormal society’,” October says.

“These people are part of our history and our heritage.

“The defiant role they played in sticking to their principles no matter the cost should be acknowledged and documented so that generations to come will know of the great sacrifices they made in sport.

“We lionise our current crop of sports heroes such as Caster Semenya and Wade van Niekerk. They are the present but we must not forget our past.”

October says his organisation intends to make it an annual event in Heritage Month.

“The response to last year’s event was phenomenal,” he says. “We had people approaching us months after the event saying it was long overdue.”

October says that, last year, two standout sportspeople, Saait Majiet and Reggie Jantjies, passed away without getting the formal recognition they deserved as icons of non-racial sport.

“Our focus has been on sports identities who gave the best years of their lives to their codes and are now in their declining years. Last year we had two inductees in their 90s. One of them, the tennis great, David Samaai passed away a few months later but he was thrilled to be there on the day to receive his award.

“This year we will induct two legends who are bedridden currently. We will make a special effort to present their awards to them appropriately.”

Last year’s inductees included legends from rugby, cricket, baseball, softball table tennis, karate, soccer and tennis. The list included household names of the 60s and 70s such as soccer legend Puzzy Jansen, rugby giant Aslam Toefy, table tennis icon Pedro Meyer and softball star Joyce Barendilla.

“This year our inductees will come from all the major codes as well as from minor codes such as gymnastics, weightlifting and darts, among others,” October says

The inductees will be announced at a gala event at Kaleidoscope venue in Claremont on 14 September.

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